Republicans who oppose abortion vow they would nonetheless protect Nevada’s statute guaranteeing abortion rights if faced with a federal bill to ban the practice nationwide, staying true to their view that the issue should be decided by states.
Clark County sheriff and Republican gubernatorial hopeful Joe Lombardo said Thursday that he would fight to protect Nevada’s voter-ratified statute protecting abortion if Republicans passed a nationwide ban that would overrule Nevada’s statute.
“It is the vote of the people within the state of Nevada and I will support that. That is an issue that doesn’t need to be in politics,” Lombardo told reporters in Reno.
Lombardo’s campaign has previously said that he would support voters if they decided revisit the issue and vote to repeal the statute protecting abortion, which they upheld in a vote in 1990. The law protects abortion rights up to the 24th week of pregnancy and thereafter if a mother’s health is in jeopardy.
With polls showing that abortion is a top issue for voters — about 50 percent of Republican women believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases — Republicans are clearly outlining where they stand.
Many Republicans across the country have softened their positions on abortions after their primaries as midterm elections approach. Some have removed abortion language from campaign websites and have adjusted their rhetoric on the trail, Axios reported.
Former Attorney General Adam Laxalt’s campaign, which is looking to oust Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto in November, said in a statement to the Review-Journal after U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., introduced a nationwide abortion ban at 15 weeks that the proposal has no chance to pass Congress and receive President Joe Biden’s signature.
“The law in Nevada was settled by voters decades ago and isn’t going to change,” Laxalt’s campaign spokesman Brian Freimuth said in the statement. He referenced an op-ed penned by Laxalt in the Reno Gazette-Journal that says Laxalt would support a referendum limiting abortion to the first 13 weeks of pregnancy.
“I also believe that most Nevadans agree with that position,” Laxalt wrote.
Freimuth pointed to the Reno Gazette-Journal article in which Laxalt says it’s a “falsehood that I would support a federal ban on abortion as a U.S. senator.”
Congressional candidates have also refined their stances for the public and made clear they would not support a federal abortion ban. April Becker, running to replace Democratic Rep. Susie Lee in Congressional District 3, told NBC News this week that she would “absolutely not” vote for a federal abortion ban because she believes that would be unconstitutional.
Mark Robertson, who faces Rep. Dina Titus in Congressional District 1 in November, has softened his anti-abortion stance.
His website used to say that he will “defend religious liberty and will oppose federal funding for abortion at home or abroad.” That has been replaced with a few paragraphs about how people think there should be limits on abortion, that abortion is “settled law in Nevada” that cannot be overturned by the governor or Legislature.
“As your representative in Congress, I will oppose any bill in Congress that takes power from the people and gives it to the federal government,” Robertson wrote. “Therefore, I will oppose federal legislation on abortion. This issue should be left to the states and to the people.”
Limits but no ban
Sam Peters, who will face off against Rep. Steven Horsford for the seat in Congressional District 4, said he is “pro-life” but doesn’t support a nationwide ban on abortion.
“Sam supports the Supreme Court decision to allow states to decide on the issue of abortion. He does not support a national ban. He is pro-life and believes there should be limits and exceptions for the life of the mother, rape, and incest. In Nevada, the issue has already been codified,” a spokesman with Peters’ campaign said in an email.
Asked if he would support or oppose a nationwide abortion ban, Rep. Mark Amodei, who represents the heavily Republican Congressional District 2, said in an email to the Review-Journal that as the U.S. Supreme Court said in its Dobbs v. Jackson case, the abortion issue should be left to the states.